Keeping Warm on a Budget

| October 18, 2011 | 2 Comments

Photo: Nigel Wedge

If you live in a place where the weather gets chilly, you know that keeping warm can be a challenge if you’re trying to stick with a budget. Heating your home and car uses a great deal of energy, and purchasing several layers worth of clothing can also get pricy. There are plenty of  easy, inexpensive ways to fend off the cold and save money, so consider some of these ideas the next time you need to warm up:

1. Make homemade handwarmers. These handy little flannel pockets can be great for you or to be given as a gift to others. You will need:

  • Small scraps of fleece or flannel
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • ½ cup regular rice
  • Hand sewing needle

Measure and cut small fabric pieces in 4 by 4 inch squares (or something similar). Use a ½ inch seam to sew around all edges, leaving a 2-inch opening on one side. Turn the pouch right side out and pour ¼ cup regular rice inside. Use a hand sewing needle and thread to stitch securely closed the 2-inch opening. Heat for 1 minute in the microwave and enjoy the warmth for around 30 minutes.

2. Stock up on blankets. Having a large supply of blankets around your home is effective for keeping warm and can be easy on your wallet. If you buy blankets second-hand at a thrift store, you can put them through the wash and have easy, inexpensive warmth-givers that will almost be like new. You can also make your own blankets with a few inexpensive supplies if you’re experienced in quilting, knitting, or crocheting.

3. Cost-effective heating. Running the central heating system in your home will spike up your utility bills, so consider investing in a few small space heaters. You can heat smaller rooms or areas you really need to keep warm rather than spending more money to heat the entire house. It’s also a good idea to keep room doors closed when you are using the space heaters so the warm air will stay inside.

4. Hot drink recipes. There is nothing like sipping a warm beverage to warm up from the cold, so try some of these easy, delicious recipes:

  • Fluffy hot chocolate
    • 8 teaspoons sugar
    • 4 teaspoons baking cocoa
    • 4 cups milk
    • 1 ½ cups marshmallows (miniature)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the first four ingredients and cook over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted. Stir in vanilla and serve hot.

  • Cran-apple cider
    • ¾ teaspoon whole cloves
    • 1 medium navel orange
    • 1 medium lemon
    • 1 quarter apple juice
    • 3 cups cranberry juice
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 cinnamon sticks

Cut orange and lemon into slices. In a large saucepan, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and fruit slices and serve in mugs.

  • Hot butterscotch coffee
    • ½ cup butterscotch chips, divided
    • 8 cups hot brewed coffee
    • ½ cup half-and-half cream
    • 6 tablespoons sugar

In a large bowl, stir the coffee and butterscotch chips until chips are melted. Stir in half-and-half and sugar and serve immediately.

5. Seal doors and windows. Be cognizant about opening outside doors and windows as little as possible when the weather gets cold so the warm air will stay inside. You can roll up towels to place by the cracks in your doors, and you can also cover windows to ensure no heat escapes. Keeping space heaters away from doors or windows you might potentially open is also a good idea so the warm air produced by the space heater isn’t counteracted by the chill outside.

So when the weather gets cold this winter season, try out some of these easy, cost-effective tips for staying warm. It really is feasible to pinch pennies while living comfortably in the midst of the cold season. If you have your own tips for staying warm on a budget, please share them with us here!

 

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Category: Frugal Living

Kelsey Bohler

About the Author (Author Profile)

Kelsey Bohler is a young wife and mother who loves to write and strives to pursue simple, intentional living. She and her family are currently living abroad and are learning firsthand what it means to stick with a budget and live frugally. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling, writing music, playing the piano, and being a Mum to her precious daughter.

Comments (2)

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  1. l. j. welch says:

    I am looking forward to trying the hot drinks recipes that you posted now that our weather is getting brisk–especially the butterscotch coffee sounds yummy.

    I did want to comment on your tip to use space heaters and wanted to add a word of caution. The space heaters need to be placed a certain number of feet away from any draperies or anything upholstered and need to be sturdy so as not to be easily knocked over. Most space heaters, when bought new, come with instructions, and if instructions are carefully followed, I agree, the heaters are helpful to reduce a person’s heating bill.

    Thank you for all the useful information.

    • Lisa says:

      Good point – as a safety precaution, please do keep space heaters away from drapes and such – read the manufacturers’ guidelines on this, to avoid risk of fire hazard. Thanks for reading, L.J. Welch – your comments are appreciated! Enjoy the hot drink recipes!

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